Sunday, February 8, 2009

Lilly Boulders Update

Nate and I just returned from a trip to the Lilly Boulders of Tennessee and after a quick episode of Nitro Circus I’m ready to jump pink tricycles and write a blog…

We left Boone on Friday and met up with Chuck and headed to the hotel outside of Knoxville to meet up with some friends “The Film Crew” (Jordan and Zoe). We tacked a few bags of bread to the walls, lamps, and curtains and trashed the place and got a good nights rest.


None of us had been to Lilly before and we were all really excited to check it out and the guide seemed to be packed with hard James Litz testpieces. The goal of the trip was to get on Testify (8A+), The Hume Problem (7C+), and to any other gems that might tickle our interest.

Let me first start out by saying that James Litz is a monster and by monster I mean he can hold onto holds I cant, with ease. The problems he established on the cliff line boulders of Lilly are very impressive and very hard. The legend of Chinese Arithmetic is true and that problem is far and away the hardest problem I have seen in a long time, possibly ever. The problem is conservatively graded 8B but seems significantly harder, let me paint the picture for you: The problem starts off under a giant roof and under that roof there is a small slot that you can slide your body into about 2.5 feet off the ground and about 5 feet deep. The problem starts at the back of that coffin and makes 2 or 3 very improbable moves to the start of the large overhang. Just keeping your body off the ground is hard enough much less making moves on bad holds at a complete horizontal, but that isn’t even the business. From there, one big moves gets you to a descent 1/4 pad edge for your left hand and essentially nothing for your right and you have to make 3 or so moves on 1/8 pad edges on a 40 degree roof to a jug at around 9 feet. This line is unreal and very, very hard. I can pull off the ground on Ode To The Modern Man and Jade has better holds than this line. I can only put body weight on one or two of the crimps of Chinese Arithmetic…

Photo courtesy of Zoe Wilson and Lounder Than 11

Chuck demonstrating the crux on Testify (8A+)

Anywho. After warming up Nate and I went right to work on Testify and unlocked beta quickly thanks to a video from Jimmy on his blog. The problem has really fun movement involving a bicycle and some serious core tension to hold the swing that otherwise sends you crashing into a flat boulder. I sent with some “sports action quick matching” on the finishing hold. Nate is painfully close and will definitely be back to seal the deal.

Nate making dreams come true...

We headed to The Hume Problem next and couldn’t figure out how it finished so we spent the rest of the day trying to figure out where boulders were and what problems might be on said boulders. The guide from Dr. Topo is horrendous to say the least with misgrading, improper names, terrible route descriptions, and even worse topos. We were only able to find boulders clearly marked in the guide after hours of searching and just a word to the wise, 25 yards means 1/4 mile…

Jordan got some really good footage on Testify and that video will be up as soon as he gets around to editing it. We tried to climb at Lilly on Sunday but it was warm and the rock condensed soaking the roofs, leaving us packing for Boone. The boulder field is fun for a day or two and the hype Urban Climber gives the place is a little bit much in my opinion. Who knows we might end up back there sometime soon.

Nationals is in 4 days so last minute training starts tomorrow I guess…

Till then

Jon G.

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